UMBC Ranked Among World’s Top Universities

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has released its annual list of the top 500 universities in the world, including UMBC as one of 146 American universities recognized. The list features prominent universities from around the globe, including many in Great Britain, Germany and China.

The ARWU is produced by the Center for World-Class Universities (CWCU) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. It is based on six indicators, including prestigious scholarships (number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals); influence and citations (number of highly cited researchers and number of articles indexed in Thomson Reuters Science Citation Index Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index); and research publications (number of articles published in Nature and Science).

UMBC is one of three University System of Maryland institutions included in the rankings, in addition to the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Click here to see the full rankings.

This announcement follows UMBC’s recognition by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) in July.

Linda Dusman, Music, and Eric Smallwood, Visual Art, Awarded TEDCO MII Grant

Symphony Interactive Screen

Symphony Interactive Screen

Linda Dusman, Music, and Eric Smallwood, Visual Arts, in partnership with the School of Music at the University of Maryland, College Park, have received a $150,000 Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) grant for their work on the tablet app, Symphony Interactive. MII was created as a partnership between the State of Maryland and five Maryland academic research institutions (Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; UMCP; University of Maryland Baltimore; and UMBC), and is managed by TEDCO, created by the Maryland State Legislature in 1998 to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of technology from Maryland’s research universities and federal labs into the marketplace. The MII program promotes the commercialization of academic research conducted in the partnership universities. Symphony Interactive is only the second project within the humanities ever to receive an award from MII, and the first to be funded in the arts and humanities at UMBC.

SI_CommaderControlSymphony Interactive provides contemporary audiences a novel way to engage with live orchestral performances. Through both text and images presented through a unique interface at the exact moment the information is most pertinent to the music, SI enables an enriched experience for users by allowing them to learn about the music and its cultural history during its performance. Acting as an informed “friend,” the app subtly provides information to enhance engagement, keeping the experience of the live performance paramount. During the grant period, the SI team will create a library for thirty of the most performed orchestral works, producing unique textual and visual information for each piece. Over the next nine months, the grant funding also will enable developing a more fully featured proof of concept application, expanding the social media extensions of the app, and performing valuable market research to aid in the commercialization process.

The Symphony Interactive project has been in development since 2011, with support from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Development has progressed through collaboration with many faculty, staff and students from Music, Visual Arts, the Imaging Research Center, Human Centered Computing, and the Department of Information Technology. Symphony Interactive has been tested in performances by the UMBC Symphony, and most recently at the National Orchestra Institute at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

CNMS Hosts 17th Annual SURF

SURF2014-9148The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences hosted the 17th annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fest (SURF) on Wednesday, August 6.

Over 200 students gave oral and poster presentations, explaining the results of their summer research projects. Many of the students participated in specialized programs to complete their research, including with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), High Performance Computing (HPC) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at UMBC, Summer Biomedical Training Program, and MARC U*STAR program. SURF also featured a workshop to help more undergraduates gain interest in pursuing research opportunities.

SURF concluded by recognizing the commitment of the faculty, staff and graduate student mentors who supported the undergraduate research projects.

Governor’s Summer Internship Program Holds Closing Ceremony Celebration

O'Malley with students 2

Gov. O’Malley meets with GSIP students after their presentations.

Another successful summer for the Shriver Center’s Governor’s Summer Internship Program (GSIP) came to a close with a celebration at the Maryland State House in Annapolis on Thursday, August 7. Student interns who participated in the program presented policy papers on significant issues in Maryland government to Governor Martin O’Malley and received feedback from the governor and his staff.

The Governor’s Summer Internship Program introduces Maryland college students to the unique challenges and rewards of working within state government. Interns work for ten weeks during the summer in state government agencies doing substantive tasks ranging from drafting speeches and correspondence to researching policy options and assisting with constituent case work. The program is led by the Shriver Center in partnership with the Office of the Governor.

O'Malley with Hannah, Michele and Roy

Gov. O’Malley with UMBC’s Roy Meyers, Hannah Schmitz and Michele Wolff

Colby “Ricci” Conley, a political science major, represented UMBC in the program and worked at the Maryland State Department of Education in the Division of Academic Policy and Innovation. At the closing ceremony, his team presented a policy paper that advocated for use of multi-tiered systems of support to address the emotional and psychological needs of students in Maryland. Other presentations from program participants included incentivizing energy efficiency in state buildings, bringing awareness to labor trafficking, improving secondary land use leasing contracts, and local growth for sustainability. UMBC Political Science Professor Roy Meyers worked with the students to develop their policy papers.

Other Shriver Center Public Service Scholars Programs came to a close at the beginning of August, including the Walter Sondheim Jr. Maryland Nonprofit Leadership Program, which offers summer internship opportunities in the nonprofit sector to college juniors, seniors and graduate students attending Maryland institutions.

Several UMBC students were participants in this year’s programs. For a complete list of UMBC students and their mentors, click here. You can learn more about the Shriver Center Scholars Programs by clicking here.

Anne Spence, Mech. Engineering, to Participate in Rep. Cummings’ Roundtable Discussion

Anne Spence, mechanical engineering, will participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by Congressman Elijah Cummings.

The panel is part of a Congressional initiative to learn about issues women educators encounter in building and sustaining economic security. The discussion will also focus on strategies to increase the number of women pursuing STEM fields. Spence has conducted extensive research on engineering education and seeks to identify best practices for educating teachers and engaging students.

The discussion will take place on August 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the University of Maryland Biotech Park Conference Center. Click here to learn more about Spence’s research.

Katie Cano ’16, Political Science, Selected as MHEC’s Student Commissioner

Governor Martin O’Malley has appointed Katie Cano ’16, political science, as the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s (MHEC) student commissioner for the 2014-2015 school year. Cano will be the third UMBC student to hold this position in the past eight years.

Cano is actively involved in many organizations at UMBC. She is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar and received a BreakingGround community program grant for a partnership between the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents-Baltimore (RICA-Baltimore) and UMBC’s Shriver Living Learning floor. She has served as president of her residence’s community action board, an orientation peer advisor, and an Introduction to an Honors University (IHU) seminar peer facilitator. She will also be a service intern for Student Life beginning this fall.

Cano will be sworn in as MHEC student commissioner on August 15, 2014.

Manil Suri, Mathematics, in India Currents

The Indian-American magazine India Currents is a monthly publication that focuses on exploring the heritage and culture of India as it exists in the United States. The magazine is published in three print editions across the U.S. in Northern California, Southern California and Washington, D.C. and is also accessible digitally. It has the largest circulation among Indian publications in the United States.


In its August issue, India Currents featured a cover story and discussion between Mathematics Professor Manil Suri and A.X. Ahmad, author of The Caretaker (IC, September 2013) and the recently-released The Last Taxi Ride—books one and two of the Ranjit Singh Trilogy. Suri is author of Death of Vishnu, The Age of Shiva, and City of Devi. The two authors discussed how Bollywood has influenced their writing. Below is an excerpt from the article in which Suri discusses how Bollywood resonates in the City of Devi:

The book is made to reflect on some of the larger-than-life aspects of Bollywood movies. The Superdevi herself arrives in one scene, she’s made up like a Bollywood star, and there are special effects and all of that. Once I got into this, the whole book became immersed in this Bollywood imagery….it was a deliberate playing with the genre. My book is about the end of the world seen through the eyes of Bollywood, and that was something I liked because it gave the novel the right flair. You don’t want the end of the world to be depressing! If you’re going to go out, go out in Bollywood style!

The magazine also featured a review of the City of Devi in which writer Jeanne E. Fredriksen wrote, “the story is beautifully told as an all-encompassing romance and present-day end time saga via alternating sections of Sarita’s and Jaz’s chronicles. Moreover, their stories internally alternate between past and present until there is nowhere to go but to move forward together.”

To read the featured article with Suri, “Bollywood Ties, Literary Knots,” click here. To read the review of City of Devi, click here.

Maria-Theresa C. Okafor, Sociology and Anthropology, Speaks at NIH

4D4A0646Dr. Maria-Theresa C. Okafor, Sociology and Anthropology and Center for Aging Studies, was a guest speaker during the opening plenary session of the 2014 Professional Development and Data Systems workshop held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from July 24-25.

Dr. Okafor, a Clinical Gerontologist and Epidemiologist specializing in health in the African Diaspora, discussed her research using national data from the New Immigrant Survey and the successes and challenges in translating quantitative research for policymakers to improve immigrant health and well-being. The two-day workshop sponsored by the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS), aimed to help prepare scholars interested in Hispanic health research strengthen their skills and knowledge to perform analytical studies of national and state health datasets to better contribute to Hispanic health care research and provision of adequate health care to Hispanics and other underserved populations.

Niels Van Tomme, CADVC, Named Curator of the 7th Bucharest Biennale

nielsvt_web1Niels Van Tomme, Visiting Curator of the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, has been named Curator of the 7th Bucharest Biennale (Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art), to take place May 26 to July 17, 2016.

The Bucharest Biennale is interested in exploring links between creative practice and social progress, as well as correspondences between local and global contexts. Now in its tenth year, the Biennale continues to build a strong partnership between Bucharest—a geocultural space where the political is reflected in all aspects of life—and the rest of the world. In transcending specific geographical, historical, or political frameworks, it connects to a broader complexity, namely the one of “resistance” within the quotidian realm.

More information about the Biennale is available on its website.

Maurice Berger, CADVC, Latest “Race Story” in the New York Times

In the latest essay for his Race Stories column in The New York Times, Maurice Berger, research professor at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, examines Dawoud Bey’s intimate and powerful 2007 portrait of Barack Obama prior to becoming president. The essay is being co-published by the Hillman Photography Initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art. “The photograph depicts its famously private and introspective subject only months before he was to step into the abyss of presidential politics. And it defines him free of the stereotypes and myths that have come to characterize his presidency,” observers Berger.

Read “Meditation on President Obama’s Portrait” and view the photograph at the New York Times Lens blog.

Berger’s Race Stories column has featured several essays centered upon race and photography, including Malcolm X as image maker, Ken Gonzales-Day, images of emancipation, the photographs of Deborah Will, and the civil rights work of James Karales.